Sunday, March 10, 2013

More Religious Double Standards on the HuffPost

The Huffington Post, like many websites, has a lot of atheist readership, among which I include myself. So any article about religion is probably going to have a lot of atheists bashing religion in general. One would hope that the editorial policy would be to either praise or criticize religions equally, but over the past couple of weeks we have seen that this is far from the case. And not for the first time.

Whereas the Huffington Post is happy to go after Judaism and Christianity for everything from circumcision to the behavior of the Catholic Church, they give Islam a free pass. In fact they bring on bloggers and writers to publish pro-Islam messages, something that Judaism and Christianity apparently do not need. I say this not because of any opposition to Islam (at least not any more than towards any other religion) but because this is a very clear example of the left-wing biases of the Huffington Post. Islam is perceived as "foreign" and "weaker" and therefore is held to a lower standard than the "Western" and "civilized" religions that are Judaism and Christianity.

Our first example of this is a blog by Dr. Faheem Younus that declares "If Prophet Muhammad Had His Way, There Would Be No Guantanamo Bay." Apparently if we want a lesson in how to treat prisoners of war, we should look to the Prophet Mohammad:
"But in Islam, the idea of equal benefits for the prisoners of war is not a joke -- it's a reality and a legacy.Now I am not talking about today's corrupt and inhumane so-called Muslim governments; they are to Islam what the Westboro Baptist Church is to Christianity.I am talking about the philosophy and philanthropy of Prophet Muhammad. He offered such a benefits package for the prisoners of war such that if he had his way, there would be no Guantanamo Bay."
Note the middle sentence. I don't get how someone can say that the behavior of the vast majority of the world's Muslims doesn't reflect the teachings of Islam. There is a reason why the WBC has a membership of less than fifty people. It's because it really is a radical organization that doesn't reflect the behavior (jury is still out on the beliefs) of American Christians. As for the way Mohammad would treat his prisoners, I guess that Dr. Younus must have forgotten about a little place called Banu Qurazya. Since then, the behavior of his followers haven't exactly improved. Just ask Daniel Pearl, who wasn't even a prisoner of war. I also doubt Dr. Younus would want the United States military to emulate Mohammad in every way:
"At the Massacre of Khaybar, Muhammad brutally tortured a Jewish chieftain for extracting information about where he had hidden his treasures. When the treasure was uncovered, the chieftain was beheaded. This chieftain was the husband of the most beautiful Jewish woman of Khaybar, the 17-year-old Safiyaah. Safiyaah's family members had been annihilated by Muhammad at the Banu Qurayza massacre. Now having beheaded her husband, the Prophet took Safiyah as his sex-slave and copulated on the same night."
Actually Dr. Younus is probably correct. Mohammad wouldn't made formed a Gitmo. He would just do his torturing right there and then and then move on. But again, don't expect there to be an article on the Huffington Post remarking on this. That might be "offensive."

Next up: Sarwar Kashmeri is here to explain to us that Islamic fatwas don't always "count." When don't they count? When he says so.
"So seriously was the [Salman] Rushdie fatwa taken that he was forced to live in secret locations under constant police guard for years. But the fatwa against nuclear weapons has been virtually ignored. If Iran's Rushdie fatwa was accepted at face value, shouldn't the Iranian fatwa against nuclear weapons be interpreted likewise? The New York Times thought so when it wrote that "American officials say they believe that Ayatollah Khamenei exercises full control over Iran's nuclear program.""
Actually the Times didn't say that, those are two separate statements. I'm sure Kashmeri finds it very offensive that we don't take the theocrats in charge of Iran seriously when their words don't follow their actions, but naivete is not an acceptable value in foreign policy. Could it be that Ayatollah Khamenei is a human being, and therefore capable of lying? And yes, there is something in Islam that you can lie if it furthers the advancement of Islam, which I'm sure Khamenei thinks Iran's nuclear weapons program does. Regardless, Kashmeri is being childish with the following argument:
"Or is a fatwa not always a fatwa? One cannot have it both ways. Perhaps Congress should hold hearings on Iran's nuclear fatwa to settle this question once and for all, before America lets loose the dogs of another war in the Middle East."
Kashmeri is missing the forest for the trees. It's not the fatwa that matters, it's the actions behind it. There have been attempts on Salman Rushdie's life, and little indication that Iran will stop their nuclear program. Congress is not going to waste their time talking about the meaningless weasel words of the leader of a country that has been deceiving the West for years. And making it about Islam and not about Iran is pretty weak.

Let's finish up with an example of pro-Islam propaganda published on Friday, the kind we will never see about Christianity or Judaism. In an article about a "Muslim women's art exhibit" they had one of their famous slideshows which included this picture:

If you click to zoom in, you will see that the problem is not with Islam itself (oh no sir) but with how society corrupts it. Well, sorry, but Islam is not pro-women. No religion is. No amount of cutesy propaganda will change that.

Let's finish up with a contrast about how the Huffington Post approaches gender issues with Judaism, their favorite target:

Jewish women aren't being paid equally, just like women everywhere? Anything negative they can find about Judaism gets front page treatment. But the treatment of women in Islam? It's fine, thanks for asking. Who says all people are equal on the Huffington Post?

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